A CASE FOR VISIBILITY

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The entire muffin category will soon gain greater visibility at Consumers Markets here, and self-service displays will play a major role, said Renee Kahl, director of bakery operations at the 24-unit chain.The company has just completed a rollout of new, upright self-service cases intended primarily to display doughnuts, but muffins are now working their way into the new fixtures

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The entire muffin category will soon gain greater visibility at Consumers Markets here, and self-service displays will play a major role, said Renee Kahl, director of bakery operations at the 24-unit chain.

The company has just completed a rollout of new, upright self-service cases intended primarily to display doughnuts, but muffins are now working their way into the new fixtures as well.

"Just this month we've put one or two -- depending on the store -- 18-inch trays of muffins on the top shelves of those cases," Kahl said. Now that all the self-service fixtures have been installed, schematics will be developed that will include space required for muffin display, she added.

Previously, the company has been selling muffins in six-packs from tables, but individually they had been available only from the service case.

Kahl said things are changing because it is important to give customers the chance to buy an individual muffin without having to wait at the service counter.

"We're aiming to get some morning customers who'll buy a muffin to go with their coffee. Then, hopefully, they'll like it so well they'll come back and buy a package," she said.

"I think the growth potential of the category, and especially of fat-free muffins, is great. It'll all depend on how they're merchandised," Kahl said.

Consumers Markets also intends to add display tables and do more advertising of muffins than it has in the past. New signs also will play an important part in keeping muffins in the spotlight, she said.